Exposure Hardcover – 23 Feb 2017
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Claustrophobic and tightly wound, Rebound by debut author Aga Lesiewicz is an edge-of-your-seat read (Good Housekeeping on Rebound)
A smart, sexy first novel . . . it races along with great verve and introduces an interesting new voice (Daily Mail on Rebound)
Lesiewicz sets a scorching pace in this creepy thriller and leaves us gasping with a genuinely chilling pay-off (Independent on Rebound)
Addictive and impressive (Daily Express on Rebound)
Completely gripping (Shots Mag)
[A] high-tension, white-knuckle ride of a book (European Literature Network)
Breathtaking and shocking, Exposure is a psychological thriller that will grip you until the last snap of the camera shutter.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
The novel opens with Kristen Ryder packing up after shooting an advertising job, one of several things that the once ambitious photographer combines to make ends meet, alongside packshot jobs of products for sale (children toys and sex toys in this novel) and other freelance jobs. After a spell photographing crime scenes as a freelance serious crimes forensic photographer for the Met, Kristen has settled for a loving relationship and supporting the burgeoning fame of Anton and accepting her place in the shade. It is when Anton is overseas in Buenos Aires that Kirsten receives the first of what turns out to be an continuing series of sinister emails. ‘Exposure 1’ is a single attachment and features a particularly macabre crime scene photograph that Kirsten remembers working on, but a clearly professional shot hints at someone else having first-hand knowledge of her movements. Replying to the anonymous sender does nothing to calm her fears and elicits no further details, however instead of truthfully confiding in someone she can trust or reporting to the police, she settles for offering a batch of half-truths to various friends. Things go from bad to worse when she then becomes aware of the voyeur in the flat opposite who stands guard at his window and shamelessly observes her meltdowns. As the email attachments escalate and become more intimate than ever she learns that perhaps Anton isn’t quite the perfect boyfriend. In the space of three weeks the doctored crime scene images progress to graphic sexual movie clips and Kristen realises that her laptop has been compromised and someone wants a deadly revenge. But just who who is targeting Kristen and more to the point, what has she done to warrant it? Kristen is sure of one thing only: that she is the single link between each of these five attachments and that someone will stop at nothing to ruin her life.
I had a lukewarm response to Rebound, and I confess to being massively unimpressed by Exposure. As events become increasingly ludicrous, I found the novel became puerile and found it laughable that Kristen didn’t turn to the police. Surrounded by a supporting cast of awful comedy caricatures, from best friend and foodie Sophie and her wet weekend of a boyfriend, Marcus, former art student collaborator and now high-living, Erin and lesbian aunt Vero the emphasis is on cheap gags and ‘Carry On’ humour. As things become totally nonsensical, why anyone with minimal common sense would behave as Kristen did is beyond me. The depth of knowledge on photography from author Lesiewicz is perhaps a little dense and as the finale becomes increasingly tech heavy, with filming drones, spyware, rootkits all involved I found Exposure painfully woeful reading. The icing on the cake is the staggeringly pathetic motivation that turns out to be behind all of this melodrama. Frankly, I found the whole thing an affront to my intelligence and Exposure defies coherent analysis. The high point was seeing the return of the chocolate Labrador in Rebound, Wispa, and when fictional pets are the highlight, you know you are scraping the barrel.
Review written by Rachel Hall (@hallrachel)
Kristen seems to have it all here, the great job (although the “toys” she photographs here certainly aren’t the sort you would find in your local kiddies toy shop!! Keep an open mind!) and the sexy French boyfriend, whilst living in a fabulously trendy loft in London. Now I’m a country girl at heart but the author paints such a fabulous portrait of city life that I just want to pack up my bags and move down south to join the hipsters of Shoreditch! Her descriptions, of the restaurants, takeaways and bakeries especially, really brought the area to life and I found myself on streetview at one point roaming the areas and landmarks that Kristin visited.
There were plenty of twists here and more red herrings than Billingsgate Fish Market as Kristen journeys to discover who is sending her the Exposure emails. Whilst I had an idea of who it could possibly be, I was never 100% convinced I had it right and I loved that uncertainty as it added an extra edge to the tension as it built towards its breathtaking finale.
So now I’m back to awaiting the THIRD London based thriller from Aga Lesiewicz! If you haven’t read anything by this author before then I do highly recommend you try her books. Exposure is an intelligent and provocative thriller with an intriguing premise that will have you changing all the passwords on your laptop and sticking a plaster over your webcam!
Lesiewicz captures the feel of hipster London very well, set as this is around Hoxton, and the characters are photographers, street artists, a gallery owner (Anna from Rebound), a hacker. Kristin is an interesting narrator who kept me on side amidst all the mayhem, and there's a good atmosphere of trendy noire about the whole thing.
This isn't as good as Lesiewicz's first novel, Rebound, and actually replays some of the same emotions. All the same, a dark and sexy switch-off read: 3.5 stars.
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